Jake and I had our margaritas in hand last night and decided we wanted more than just a burrito from Chipotle for Cinco de Mayo (don't be confused, I'm sure we will have that this weekend, too). So, I went on a quest to find a recipe that looked light, delicious, and so very Mexican. Tortilla soup was the chosen one. I found a great recipe on 101 Cookbooks and was sold at oven-roasted tomatoes. I mean, come on. Not even restaurant soups garnish with oven-roasted tomatoes! Then I made a couple of changes to intensify the taste, make it more tomato-y, and make it friendlier to my pantry (because, let's be honest, I use vegetable stock that comes in 4 cup containers and didn't want an extra half emptied carton sitting in the fridge).
So, now that the soup is made, it's time to celebrate! This is the most wonderful time of the year. The weather is beautiful, Mexican food is delicious, the Derby is on TV, Pittsburghers in better shape than me are running in the marathon, and Lily is definitely up for any party that includes tortilla chips. Or, as she calls them, chip-chips. Let's do this!
Of course, this (below) is what my soup actually looked like when I loaded it up with avocado. It was delicious!
To make the tortilla strips:
6-8 corn tortillas, cut in half and then into matchstick-thin strips a big splash of extra virgin olive oil fine grain sea salt
Toss the tortilla strips with olive oil and salt. Spread them out on a baking sheet and bake in a 350F degree oven for 10 minutes or until golden and crispy. Set aside.
To make the roasted tomatoes:
1 pint cherry tomatoes, olive oil, and salt
Halve the tomatoes lengthwise and spread them out on a baking sheet (I just used the same sheet as for my tortilla strips - who likes dishes?). Toss with olive oil and a pinch or two of salt. Bake in a 350F degree oven for 40-45 minutes (less time if you use smaller cherry tomatoes), or until the tomatoes are shrunken and starting to brown. (The tomatoes will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge, so you can do this in advance.) Set aside.
To make the soup:
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 4 cloves garlic, chopped 1 large white onion, chopped 2 teaspoons ground cumin 2 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons chili powder 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper about 5 slices pickled or fresh sliced jalapeno (optional and to taste) juice of half a lime 1 28-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes 4 cups vegetable broth shredded cheddar cheese, cojita cheese, or vegan shredded cheese, for topping
In a big pot over medium-high heat, cook the garlic and onions in the olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt for about 5 minutes (until they are fragrant). Stir in the spices, jalapenos, lime juice, and tomatoes. Cook for about five minutes until it thickens a bit. Add half the broth and puree with a hand blender (or use a traditional blender if you don't have an immersion). Add the remaining broth and puree until smooth. Bring the soup back up to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Salt to taste.
Serve topped with tortilla strips, the roasted tomatoes, cheese, and avocado.
Source: Inspired by 101 Cookbooks